The Guide: John Mayer, DJ Shadow, Emma Doran and other events to see, shows to book and ones to catch before they end

March 23rd-29th, 2024: The best music, comedy, theatre, art and more coming your way this week

John Mayer

Event of the week

John Mayer

Friday March 29th, 3Arena, Dublin, 7pm, €75.50 (sold out), ticketmaster.ie

John Mayer is one of those all-rounder musicians and songwriters who refuse to get stuck in a rut. Since he was 17, inspired by the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, the New Englander has played blues, country, folk, Americana and soft rock. This show, the final date on a brief European tour, sees him jump back to his solo acoustic roots, so keep it quiet at the front if you don’t mind. As befits a nothing-fancy T-shirt-and-jeans concert, you can expect a calm, confident and good-humoured delivery of back-catalogue songs interspersed with personal recollections that might surprise even long-term fans. Keeping it acoustic, the special guest is Madison Cunningham, whose 2022 album, Revealer, won the Grammy for best folk album.

Gigs

The Jesus and Mary Chain

Monday March 25th, 3Olympia Theatre, Dublin, 7pm, €47.70; Tuesday March 26th, Limelight, Belfast, 7pm, £38; ticketmaster.ie
Jim and William Reid aka The Jesus and Mary Chain

Who would have thought that the Scottish “Beach Boys with a Brillo pad” brothers would still be hanging in there more than 40 years after they first emerged? East Kilbride siblings William and Jim Reid have this week released a new album, Glasgow Eyes (“a staggering, swaggering achievement more vital than anything they’ve done in the past 35 years,” according to Record Collector) and seem set on continuing on a perhaps less-raucous but no-less-exciting path. May their guitars crunch and scratch forever.

David Kitt

Friday March 29th, Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny, Co Donegal, 8pm, €20/€15, celtronicfestival.com

As part of Celtronic 2024 (which is mostly based in Derry), Letterkenny gets a look-in with a packed evening of “live music and late-night electronic experiments”. The music acts include Porphyry, The Fully Automatic Model, Anna Mullarkey, Gareth Quinn Redmond and David Kitt – who, under the guise of New Jackson, might just preview tracks from the forthcoming album Oops! ... Pop, which is released next month.

Club

DJ Shadow

Thursday March 28th, Academy, Dublin, 7pm, €30 (sold out), ticketmaster.ie

Joshua Paul Davis concludes his latest low-key tour with a sold-out show in Dublin. If you think fans are going to let him drift off into the night without slipping vinyl out of the sleeve and on to the decks, then think again. Of course, DJ Shadow is a master of manipulating samples (his 1996 debut, Endtroducing…, is in the Guinness World Records books as the first completely sampled album), so who knows what might be created here? Which, of course, is the hook.

READ MORE

Classical

Riam Young Artists Concert

Saturday March 23rd, Farmleigh House, Phoenix Park, Dublin, 7.30pm, €17, eventbrite.ie
Violinist Sarah Brazil

This showcase of budding classical musicians (selected from the Royal Irish Academy of Music’s Young Artist programme) is now an annual event that gives audiences the opportunity to hear exceptionally talented musicians at the start of their careers. Performers include Ava Duffy (piano), Adam Joyce (cello), Sarah Brazil (violin), Ruadhri O’Dea (piano), Elizabeth Troup (cello), Simon Carey (clarinet), Juliette Carroll-Breen (piano) and Emily Brazil (soprano).

Comedy

Emma Doran’s Dilemma

Saturday March 23rd, Mermaid Arts Theatre, Bray, Co Wicklow, 8pm, €25 (sold out), mermaidartscentre.ie; Friday March 29th, Spirit Store, Dundalk, Co Louth, 8pm, €25 (sold out), spiritstore.ie
Emma Doran

The self-styled “comedian, mother, chancer” has been working hard to raise a smile for some time, initially via open-mic nights and then on television shows such as RTÉ’s Republic of Telly and No Worries If Not! and, more recently, on the Prime Video show LOL: Last One Laughing Ireland. Whatever apprenticeship Doran may have had, however, is now over as she embarks on a comprehensive nationwide tour that continues throughout April and May, culminating with two shows at Vicar Street, in Dublin (Friday May 24th and Friday May 31st). Visit emmadorancomedy.com for full tour details.

Visual art

CA Collective Exhibition

Until Sunday April 28th, RHA, Dublin, free, rhagallery.ie

Organised by Connections Arts Centre, and featuring the work of 14 artists with intellectual disabilities, the inaugural CA Collective Exhibition celebrates varied artistic representations that question public opinions. Alongside the exhibition, which includes art by Amy Begley, Thomas Higgins and Matthew Sexton, there are (on select Wednesdays, hosted by Connections artists) gallery tours, artist demonstrations and conversations. The latter feature artists talking about their work as well as their life experiences as artists.

In conversation

Paul Lynch

Tuesday March 26th, Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, 8pm, €20, paviliontheatre.ie
Novelist Paul Lynch

Since his journalism days ended, about 10 years ago (he wrote, most insightfully, on film for the Sunday Tribune and the Sunday Times), Paul Lynch has regularly appeared on literary awards lists. Last year, of course, he won the Booker Prize for his startling Prophet Song, a “masterly novel” (Literary Review) and “prophetic masterpiece” (Washington Post). This interview, hosted by the journalist and broadcaster Alex Clark, is the first of many public interviews that Lynch will take part in over the coming months – before settling down, one hopes, to write the next prize winner. No pressure, right?

Still running

The President

Until Sunday March 24th, Gate Theatre, Dublin, 2pm/7.30pm (Saturday), 2pm (Sunday), €57.50/€42.50/€37.50, gatetheatre.ie
Olwen Fouéré and Hugo Weaving in The President

“Two heroic performances in a classy production” is how The Irish Times summarised Hugo Weaving and Olwen Fouéré’s roles in Thomas Bernhard’s play set in the aftermath of an assassination attempt on a dictator. Go see.

Book it this week

West Cork Literary Festival, Bantry, Co Cork, July 12th-19th, westcorkmusic.ie

Luke Kidgell, Vicar Street, Dublin, August 17th, ticketmaster.ie

Killer Mike, National Stadium, Dublin, August 22nd, ticketmaster.ie

Girl in Red, 3Arena, August 27th, ticketmaster.ie

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in popular culture